King of the Rattling Spirits

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King of the Rattling Spirits (novel)
King of the Rattling Spirits.jpg
AuthorMiha Mazzini
Original titleKralj ropotajočih duhov
TranslatorMaja Visenjak Limon
PublisherScala House Press
Publication date
Published in English
Media typePrint, paperback
Pages287 pp
Preceded byGuarding Hanna 
Followed byCollector of Names 

King of the Rattling Spirits is a novel by Miha Mazzini. It was first published in Slovenia in 2001, with a second edition in 2008 and third edition in 2011, under the title of 'Kralj ropotajočih duhov'. The author has explored other ways to tell the fictionalized autobiographic story before the novel. Those included short story published in 1995 as illustrated text in Ars Vivendi magazin, and years later a screenplay for his film Sweet Dreams that won several awards at different film festivals in 2001.


The novel is first person narrative of twelve years old Egon who tries to become a normal teenager with normal teenage problems of growing up in a milieu of little industrial town in then Tito's Yugoslavia with open borders to the West that allowed free visits to the other side of iron curtain that was not so iron at the borders between now Slovenia and Italy, in times of record players and popular and less popular alternative music records. However this is not an easy task to have only normal problems since Egon has to deal with abuse at home and in school.

At home he is exposed to nona's posttraumatic consequences of World War One because of which she keeps having hallucinations of dead souls and she makes sure that Egon, too, keeps watching dreadful illustrations of martyrs from her little book of Catholic saints and apologize to dead souls for stepping on them accidentally, which only she can see.

As well at home he is exposed to neglect and scapegoating by single mother, his mother who is in conflict with nona.

As if that would not be enough (and too much) for a child, he gets sexually abused by teacher at school who keeps molesting also a beautiful girl who is also sexually abused by her own father at home and who because of that - as the narrator tells at the end of the novel - finds escape from nightmarish life in her death (suicide) at the end. Egon can only dream of having the kind of problems his teenage peers have, this would be sweet dreams for him.

Egon survives in the novel, but has to pay a high price for the survival, a price paid by many survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Because the double life they are forced to live daily, they would need help from an adult who they could trust and who would understand them in order to integrate it, they have no other choice but to escape into new identity, which in contrast to their real child's self, who is helpless, becomes a king over the dark kingdom of nona, mother and school, as the king of (their) rattling ghosts.


  • American edition was published in 2005 by Scala House.
  • Croatian edition in 2005.
  • Chech edition in 2005.
  • Italian edition in 2008.
  • Polish edition in 2009.